NADA HAFEZ


Scattered traces

sandblasted mirror and plywood, 48in. x 90in. x 12in., 2019.

   
   
    In my practice, I explore different modes of communication between an artwork and a viewer, which reflects itself in work that confronts the viewer through placement, size or materials. A conversation is prompted between the two. I would like people to be able to communicate with my work the same way you would with a book.
    In a lot of my work, I use reflective materials in order to immerse the viewer. This act emphasizes the intimate relationship one has with their reflection. Using reflective materials also makes the viewer aware of their surroundings as it’s not only reflecting them but also the space both are in.  
    I have recently started using ancient Arabic poetry as a starting point for a lot of my work. Although text is a major part of my practice, I find that legibility isn’t something I aim for. In order for each piece to truly be accessible for both Arabic and non-Arabic speakers, the readability of the words conveyed must be irrelevant. Works such as Scattered Traces utilizes the flowing shapes of the letters to hint at the poet’s blurry vision and the deserted scene he speaks of. I mainly created works based on Arabic poetry because these old texts are often inapplicable to today’s issues. For instance, Scattered Traces is heavily influenced by the difficult times Syrian refugees were having after leaving their home. The work speaks of a blinding sadness that blurs your vision of who you are or who you might become. Although the poem originally speaks of a lost lover, in this case the lost love represents the lost land. I am interested in creating a dialogue between my work and its audience which is why I’d like for people to spend some time confronting my work and trying to comprehend it without reading it.

Sar fi bena 5ebez w mele7

plywood and found materials, 7ft. x 4ft. x 1ft., 2019.

   
    To cite my inspirations for this work would be to illustrate the initial anger at the lack of global media attention to these problems, the emotional toll of researching each event, and solution-seeking. Reconciled to the fact that many turn a blind eye to these issues, I am critical of the tendency to understand humanitarian crises as unapproachable enormities happening somewhere far away. These events are there and we feel for the people affected by them, but only for a second; if we were to feel for all of them all the time, we would not have time to breathe.


google drowning refugee at the beach
zoom in on the picture
i needed to see the colours of the sand
was it beige or brown
they were the only options on the shelf
but the beach was neither
it was a colourless grey
the only bright color in that picture was red from the boy’s shirt 
another image showed a man wearing a neon vest running
he picks up the baby
almost hopeful
i cried
so did he

Illegal emigration is not an excuse for mass “accidental” deaths.


pick up the globe
shake the feeling off
move on

“6ar fi bena 5ebez w mele7” – there is bread and salt between us


Nobody Wins #1

mixed media, 11in. x 17in., 2019.

    Nobody Wins #1is part of a series of silkscreen collages that I started making in 2019. The work is inspired by the saturation and constant exposure to information conveyed in the news. I used a poetic verse written in the 6th century in the Arabian Gulf by Azzeer Salem (Oudai bin Rabia); a war was raging between neighboring tribes due to a nonsensical accidental killing of a camel. The war went on for the better part of 40 years. The poet had lost his brother during this war and urged his people to keep fighting for revenge; on the other hand, most people were unaware of the reasoning behind this seemingly ceaseless conflict. This ignorance did not stop the people from blindly following orders.
    For this piece, I wrote the same poem verse in the Thuluth style of calligraphy writing and layered it in different colors and densities, rendering the text completely incomprehensible. I then cut the prints into circles of different sizes to showcase the different limited points of view that we as an audience can have about a subject. I want to emphasize the subjectivity and privilege that comes with the constant access to global information. Even though we have access to numerous databases, we are limited by our own experiences and understandings of our surroundings.






Nada Hafez is a Canadian artist. She is currently living and working in Toronto, Ontario where she is completing her Honours Bachelor of Arts in a joint program between the University of Toronto and Sheridan College. She is currently undertaking an internship at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. Her works typically make connections between audiences and contemporary sociopolitical issues. Hafez is a recipient of the Artcast Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement (2017), Faculty of Print Media Award (2017), Canadian Art Award for Excellence in Volunteerism (2018), the Therese Bolliger Award in recognition of Excellence in Sculpture (2018) and the First Place Award from Visual Arts Mississauga for her work in the 2020 Now Streaming Youth Exhibition.